Lake County voters could reshape government in November

  • Emilia Czyszczon, left, and Mary Ellen Vanderventer, right, are candidates for Lake County recorder of deeds. Voters could abolish the office through a referendum in November.

    Emilia Czyszczon, left, and Mary Ellen Vanderventer, right, are candidates for Lake County recorder of deeds. Voters could abolish the office through a referendum in November.

  • Antioch Public Library District leaders have proposed borrowing $9.6 million to expand and remodel the library, 757 N. Main St.

    Antioch Public Library District leaders have proposed borrowing $9.6 million to expand and remodel the library, 757 N. Main St. Courtesy of Antioch Public Library

  • Lake Zurich voters will be asked this fall to double the municipal sales tax as a way to fund reconstruction of the Paulus Park Barn, which burned last year.

      Lake Zurich voters will be asked this fall to double the municipal sales tax as a way to fund reconstruction of the Paulus Park Barn, which burned last year. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2019

 
 
Updated 9/7/2020 10:59 PM

While many Americans are focused on the next occupant of the White House, Lake County voters could reshape local government when they cast ballots in the Nov. 3 election.

That's because they'll be asked if they want to eliminate the office of recorder of deeds by merging its duties with the county clerk's office.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

That referendum is one of six scheduled to appear on Lake County ballots.

Voters in Lake Zurich, Ela Township, the Antioch Public Library District and Winthrop Harbor also face community-specific questions.

And all Illinois voters will be asked if they want to amend the state Constitution to create a different formula for collecting income tax.

The referendum list for the election is complete. The deadline to file a question for the ballot passed last week.

Here are the local ballot issues:

County recorder

The Lake County Board decided in June to ask voters if the recorder's office should be eliminated.

The recorder's office keeps real estate transactions, military discharge papers and other documents. The clerk's office oversees elections and maintains birth, marriage and death records and other documents.

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If voters approve the proposal, the offices would merge by Dec. 1, 2022, and the elected position of recorder would disappear.

The post is up for election this year. Democrat Mary Ellen Vanderventer, the incumbent, supports the merger, as does Republican challenger Emilia Czyszczon.

Proponents say it could save money. The recorder's $127,874 annual salary would be eliminated, as would the cost of the recorder's health insurance coverage and other benefits.

Lake Zurich

Village officials have proposed doubling the local sales tax to 1%. The overall sales tax on general goods in the village is 7.5%, so that would rise to 8%.

The extra tax would generate about $2 million annually, officials have said.

It would fund reconstruction of Paulus Park Barn, which was gutted by a fire in November 2019. It also would pay for improvements at fire station No. 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Current municipal sales tax revenue funds road resurfacing, stormwater drainage and other infrastructure work, officials have said.

Ela Township

Voters will be asked if they want to abolish the local road district. All of its assets and responsibilities would be assumed by the township, which is in the Lake Zurich area.

The road district and township are separate government entities serving the same population.

The district maintains less than 25 miles of roads in unincorporated areas. It also provides public works services to some towns through intergovernmental agreements.

If voters approve the plan, the road district would be abolished and stop collecting taxes in May 2021. The elected office of township highway commissioner would disappear.

The township has scheduled public, online discussions about the proposal for Sept. 23 and Oct. 15. For details on those forums and the plan, visit elatownship.org.

Antioch library

Antioch Public Library District leaders have proposed borrowing $9.6 million to expand and remodel the library, 757 N. Main St.

If the plan is approved, the 31,000-square-foot building would grow to 40,000 square feet.

A dedicated space for teens, more study rooms, a tutoring space and a reading room with a fireplace are among proposed new features. Upgrading technology, seating areas and tables with electrical outlets to charge laptops and mobile devices are planned.

If voters approve the plan, the owner of a $200,000 house would pay $50 more in taxes to the district the first year, according to the library website.

If voters reject the plan, the building still needs infrastructure improvements, including roof and ventilation system repairs, totaling $1.6 million, officials said.

The current library building was constructed in 1970 and expanded in 2001.

A public forum about the proposal is being planned.

More information can be found at apld.info/about-us/reimagineyourlibrary.

Winthrop Harbor

Voters will decide if the village clerk position should be changed from an elected post or one appointed by the mayor with consent of trustees.

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